Outrage and disbelief as Myanmar military charges Aung San Suu Kyi for having walkie-talkies at home

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Updated: February 28, 2021

Outrage and disbelief continued to trail reports that Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged with breaching import-export laws in Myanmar for having walkie-talkies in her home.

“If these charges are confirmed, they suggest the military is desperate for a pretext to embark on a witch-hunt and intimidate anyone who challenges them,” warned Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research, Emerlynne Gil. “Any such trumped-up charges against Aung San Suu Kyi – and the dozens of others still arbitrarily detained since the coup – should be dropped and they should be immediately released.”

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On February 3, an NLD spokesperson told journalists that Aung San Suu Kyi was charged for possession of illegally imported hand-held radios, which carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. She has been remanded in custody until February 15.

Myanmar’s President, Win Myint, has also reportedly been charged for alleged violation of COVID-19 election campaign guideline under Section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law, which carries up to three years in prison.

Since Monday, February 1, the military has imposed a state of emergency under the authority of the Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and has detained scores of elected civilian officials, other senior political figures as well as political activists and human rights defenders.

In a 2018 report, Amnesty International named Senior General Min Aung Hlaing among those who should be investigated for responsibility for crimes against humanity perpetrated as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State.

A UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2018 has called for Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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